Cape Breton's Magazine

> Issue 19 > Page 33 - New Englanders Take Louisbourg, 1745

Page 33 - New Englanders Take Louisbourg, 1745

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1978/6/1 (392 reads)

colonial wars. In addition, Louisbourg still existed as a naval base for French privateers and warships to raid New Eng? land's shipping. This conflict was broader than just the colonial rivalry of two dif? ferent nations. New England and Isle Roy? ale (Cape Breton) were also economic con? tenders in the fishery. Both areas expor? ted dried fish to Spain, for example. Re? ligious bigotry further fired the issue, for New England was Protestant while Isle Royale was Catholic. So, although Annapolis Royal was not cap? tured, it aroused New England's fears that this would eventually happen. Despite this feeling, there was plenty of opposition in the New England colonies to a plan to cap? ture Louisbourg. By North American stand? ards, Louisbourg's fortifications were im? pressive, and certainly her southern neighbours had nothing comparable. The merchants of New England had been trading with Louisbourg. Its fortifications were known. The fortress had a large garrison of regular soldiers. The New England col? onies did not have the necessary cannons to conduct a siege and they remembered the difficulty Massachusetts had in raising the relief forces (which numbered under 200) for Annapolis Royal. Nevertheless, prominent New Englanders, such as Governor Shirley of Massachusetts and William Vaughan, a merchant, supported the scheme. These men, and others, conducted a propa? ganda campaign over the fall and winter of 1744-45 to convince the colonies, particu? larly Massachusetts, that such a plan was not only feasible but practical. They lis? tened to John Bradstreet, who had been a prisoner at Louisbourg. He told about mu? tiny, that troop morale was low. He told of the poor state of the fortifications. The Dauphin demi-bastion today is presen? ted with wood revetment. That's because the masonry in 17'5 was so poor the French had to board it in. Bradstreet knew this. He probably knew not all the cannons were mounted and that, of the ones that were mounted, none were pointing inland. All the cannon either protected the harbour or swept along the walls. By playing on the regions' political, economic and religious rivalries, combined with promises of plen? tiful loot and descriptions of the fort? ress' weakness, the propagandists waged a close but successful campaign. On 5 Febru? ary, the Massachusetts House of Represent? atives approved a plan to attack Louis? bourg in conjunction with the other Brit? ish colonies. Under Massachusetts initiative, the colo? nies raised a land force of 4,000 men and gathered the vessels necessary to trans? port them to Louisbourg. Massachusetts, the Maine district (then affiliated with Massachusetts), New Hampshire and Connect? icut raised most of the men and vessels. Rhode Island and New York contributed a warship and artillery respectively. Wil? liam Pepperrell, a well-known and popular merchant, politician and militia officer from Maine, was selected as the expedi? tion's commander. Support from Britain was expected in the form of a naval squadron under the command of Peter Warren. The ex? pedition sailed from New England's ports early in April for a rendezvous at Canso (Arrow #9). Colonial warships had already been dispatched in late March to blockade Louisbourg. Journal Entry; This day our Vessel was A Very Hospital, wee were all Sick, in a Greater or lesser Degree. Wee Sail'd a good pace all Day, Towards Night, the Wind Began to rise, it also Grew foggy and Something rainy. So That wee Could not be Upon Deck, as the Night before • But was Shut down in the hold; and a Long, Dark and Teadious night wee had, Such a one I Never See before; Wee was also Much Croud- ed, even So as to Lay, one on Another. Sick etc. My Friends, you can Scarsely think What Distress wee were in. By the end of the third week in April, most of the expedition had arrived at Can- so. Pepperrell still had to wait for War? ren's squadron to arrive from the West In? dies and also the Connecticut detachment which had sailed later. Perhaps more im? portantly, Pepperrell had to wait until the drift ice left Gabarus Bay • the fleet's intended anchorage off Louisbourg. On 10 May, with the lagging detachments having arrived and the drift ice departed, the expedition sailed for Louisbourg (Ar? row #10), A much smaller attack was also directed towards Port Toulouse (St. Pet? er's • Arrow #11) and yet another and later one towards Niganiche (Ingonish • Arrow #12). Although Port Toulouse and Niganiche were the focal points, the object of these raids was to destroy the French fishing Complete Supplies for the Camper and We Specialize in Fresh Fish LOUISBOURG 733-2060 Stevens General Store "Tires Our Specialty" SYL'S SERVICE CENTRE 295-2911 295-2911 Located in Downtown Baddeck 24-Hour Towing Service Cape Breton's Magazine/33
Cape Breton's Magazine
  View this article in PDF format Print article

Adobe Acrobat Reader is required to the PDF version of this content. Click here to download and install the Acrobat plugin
Acrobat Reader Download